I have a confession to make. I am not a perfect parent. I may write parenting articles and lead parenting groups, but the truth is I don’t always remember to do all of the things I know how to do. I have raised my voice, rescued when I shouldn’t, been too tired to play, and completely lost my patience. I am a fallible, sinful, mistake-making human being. And, you know something… that is OK.
Perfection is not a requirement for being a good parent. In fact, I think perfectionism can actually get in the way of parenting our children well. If we never let our children see our mistakes, never admit to our mistakes, or worse, berate or belittle ourselves when we do, we ultimately teach our children to treat themselves that way. We model that our best is never good enough, or that it is never ok to be wrong, and that is really not a healthy way to live. Perfectionism can eat you up inside, leave you empty and never satisfied, and steal your courage to try new things.
I don’t wake up in the morning and tell myself that today is the day that I’m going to mess up as a parent. I do try to do the best that I can, but I also know that sometimes I am going to miss the mark. So in those moments, I model the courage to be imperfect. I show that I am in need of grace. I ask for forgiveness from my children, and from my Lord and Savior, and in doing so show them how to give and seek forgiveness and grace. I show them that relationships can be repaired, and that sometimes it is OK to ask for help. I show them that the only perfect love comes from Christ, but we can love each other well if we know how to give and receive forgiveness. I also give them permission to make mistakes, which is ultimately how people learn and grow.
So, my fellow parents, give yourself some grace. You are doing the best you can with what you know. And remember that even when you are not a perfect parent, God loves you, will help you, and has plenty of grace to spare.